James 1:22-25 (NRSV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
When we moved into our new home, I was determined to be the NEW Karen. I was going to have all of our belongings in appropriate places, purposefully organized and efficiently arranged. The keys would be in a basket near the garage door. All of our kitchen utensils would be stored for easy access at the proper food preparation area. I took some time to unpack as I considered the best places to place our items. Life would run so smoothly!
But I keep forgetting where these organized, efficient places are! Out of habit, I return to the old places we used to keep our belongings. I’m taking lots of extra steps to find my keys, or utensils, or other items. My efficiency is hindered by my old habits, my usual ways of doing things. I forget how to go about this new way of living. NEW Karen has largely reverted back to usual Karen.
Our Lenten practice for today is obedience. The writer of James is correct- we need to be doers of the word. So many times a sermon message or Bible reading has inspired me to change my ways or take steps to make a difference. But by the next Sunday, I’ve often forgotten what moved me the week before. Because I didn’t follow up my inspiration with action, I was unable to even recall the lesson I’d learned, the nudge I should have acted upon. Life had remained the usual life.
Today let’s try to obediently respond to what we notice or hear. If we feel a nudge or an inspiration from God, let’s make that change or take that step. The more we practice responding to God’s word, the more we will understand and remember what God is teaching and showing us. We will be less likely to forget the new way God is calling us to live. In fact, with enough follow-through, our new way of living may become a habit!
“Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.” A. W. Tozer
Our symbol is a mirror. May it remind us of these words from the book of James. May we hear what God is teaching us, see what God is showing us, sense how God is nudging us, and then wholly, immediately, and obediently take action to do them.
Inspiring, moving, teaching God,
You are revealing new ways to live and to be. Reveal them to me.
You are calling me to listen and obey. Show me the way.
You are inviting me to love like you. Move me to DO.